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Organisation : Electoral Commission of Namibia
Facility : Frequently Asked Questions FAQ
Country : Namibia

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Frequently Asked Questions FAQ :
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Voters’ Registration Kit :
What is Biometrics?
Biometrics (or biometric authentication) refers to the identification of humans by their characteristics or traits. Biometrics is used in computer science as a form of identification and access control. What is the VRK? The Voter Registration Kit (VRK) is the computerized unit that captures the voter data. It comprises a computer (laptop), a fingerprint scanner, signature pad and camera. In addition, the mobile voter registration kit (MVRK) has a printer component that allows voter cards to be printed at the registration point.

What data is captured by the VRKs?
The biometrics system developed by the ECN takes the personal identification information of a voter (for example name, surname, address, region, etc.) and combines it with the unique biological fingerprint of the voter.

How is the data used?
The data is uploaded to a central computer system (server) and then the fingerprints of each voter are compared to every other fingerprint on the system. The server will identify duplicate ID numbers as well as duplicate fingerprints. These identified duplicates are then sent for manual verification by a senior ECN staff member for further action. The data is then stored on a voters roll which includes the particulars of a voter together with the picture as captured on the system.

What information is on the card?
The voter card contains the basic personal information such as name, surname and address as well as information regarding the type of elections the voters qualifies for such as National, Presidential, Regional or Local Authority elections.

How is the card used during voting?
During voting, the voter’s card can be used in two ways to verify the voter :
** Manual recognition (and verification on the voters roll) of the voter from the card through their picture and other details;
** Electronic recognition through a device which has a full copy of the voters roll.
** This verification device allows the card to be scanned and verified against the voters roll, as well as allowing voter confirmation through the comparison of the fingerprint after the voter’s card is scanned.

What happens if a card is lost?
The ECN will have a supplementary registration during which voters can also apply for a duplicate voter’s card. A process for continuous registration will also be introduced which will allow voters to apply for duplicates at designated regional centres.

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